Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Chines in NZ

The 19th century
The 19th century was the era of the Chinese goldseekers in Otago and on the West Coast. They were rural male Cantonese who first came over from Victoria, Australia, and later direct from China. Initially, in 1865, they were responding to invitations to rework the Otago goldfields; from there they spilled over to the West Coast. Their numbers reached a peak of over 5,000 between 1874-81. Despite their peasant background they were intrepid and determined adventurers. Sojourners by choice, their competitiveness, different racial origin and culture generated opposition. Their aim was to save about 100 pounds to take home to China; their strategy to adapt only as much as necessary until they left. They survived by their cooperative groupings of kinsfolk, clan and counties of origin.

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